Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Shut Up! You're Distracting Me!" School Board Wants To Limit Public Input At Board Meetings

The Springfield R-12 School Board is considering limiting public input at the monthly school board meetings.

Apparently it is "distracting" to board members when the press questions commentators at the board meetings about their comments.

Kris Callen, board president, said the intention of the speaker makes a difference. She added that if someone uses the format to get media attention and are followed out of their room by reporters after a statement, it can be distracting.

Board members also questioned if there was a better way to get people to attend meetings and express opinions about the topics that are on the agenda.

Many citizens feel that School Boards and City Councils only listen to community input if it agrees with their vision 20/20 or SP5. I commented on this in a post on the City Audit, scroll down and read the comments. I received a barrage of hate mail (most of it from the same two places, I must have touched a nerve. btw,the internet is not as anonymous as some people think), so much that I started moderating my comments.

Mayor Tom Carlson got upset over the public comments in the January 14, 2008 City Council meeting. Read the comments posted at 9:15 PM.

While you are reading those minutes, note the conversation over the use permit in the 3600 block of Chestnut Expressway (7:36 PM). Those citizens were heard by the council, loud and clear in last week's Council meeting, 8:47 PM.

Yes, they want your input, when it is convenient to them.

UPDATE: Jackehammer has a post that speaks to the same issue as this one. The link is here. Surely we aren't the only two people in Springfield who are concerned about the direction these posts indicate we are heading.


Busplunge said...

This is a copy of an email I sent to the Secretary of the Springfield School Board:

Don't change a thing. Keep the public comment sections as they are. At least let us maintain the illusion that we have input on the practices and policies of R-12 school district.

As I recall, there are two public comments during board meetings. One is towards the beginning of the meeting. The speaker must sign up to speak at this section. The other is towards the end of the meeting, no sign up is necessary.

Leave them both as they are.

Jim Lee

Jason said...

It's a horrible idea to limit public comment time.

Busplunge said...

I received a reply to my email. It was from Kris Callen. She basically thanked me for writing and said "There was never any intent to eliminate this very important part of our meetings. The discussion at the board retreat focused primarily on how to improve this process to make it more effective and helpful for both the public and board members. Unfortunately that part of the discussion was downplayed or deemphasized in the reporting."